When it comes to the long-term beautifying that brides typically engage in in the weeks and months leading up to their weddings, the first one that we usually hear about, inevitably and not surprisingly, is dropping a few lbs and/or just getting out and out toned/ripped/built/sculpted or what have you for your upcoming walk down the aisle.
There’s also, usually, the growing out of the hair, that you might have more to work with and more flexibility in terms of style. There’s skin maintenance, so that you’re glowing inside and out on your Big Day. And then, mixed in there, we also always have: the whitening of the teeth.
As you probably already know, there are ways you can whiten your teeth via the dentist's chair, and there are ways you can whiten your teeth while sitting on your couch, covered in a face mask and painting your nails at the same time. But what we didn't realize were just how many at-home, DIY ways there really are to brighten up that smile, and we're guessing that the list of those things we recently learned about from Philly's Dr. Leonard Tau of the Pennsylvania Center for Dental Excellence is going to surprise you, too.
The best part? Most of this stuff you'll be able to rummage up in your fridge and bathroom and kitchen cabinets. Behold:
- Oil pulling helps whiten teeth and improve gum health by removing toxins and cutting through plaque Swish one to two tablespoons of oil (coconut, sesame or olive) for 20 minutes, spit into trash can, rinse mouth out with warm water and brush your teeth.
- Eat smart by choosing foods that are great, natural smile brighteners: Shiitake mushrooms contain lentinan, a sugar that stops bacteria from growing and prevents plaque. Strawberries contain malic acid, which naturally removes discolorations from teeth, and crunchy fruits and veggies such as carrots, celery and apples, stimulate saliva and wash away debris.
- Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda create a bleaching solution that tackles teeth stains. Combine one tablespoon of each, apply mixture to teeth using a washcloth or cotton ball (while avoiding gums), and rinse well.
- Save your peels, as orange and banana peels can be effective stain removers and teeth whiteners. Take the inside of the peel, rub it on your teeth and leave on for a few minutes; repeat every day for a week (just don’t overdo it as the acid from the orange, which bleaches your teeth, can damage your tooth enamel).
- Burnt toast has charcoal in it that is a fix for discolored teeth. Burn a piece of toast, scrape off the burned part, mix it with toothpaste, and brush your teeth and rinse. (Note: Brush gently so you don’t damage your enamel). Brush again briefly with fresh toothpaste then rinse well.
- Activated charcoal (sold in natural health stores and online as loose powder or in capsule form) is charcoal that is highly adsorptive; it pulls out toxins and removes stains, and it also changes the pH balance of the mouth, which helps prevent cavities and tooth decay. Dip a wet toothbrush into powdered charcoal, brush in small gentle circles for two minutes, then spit and rinse well. (Note: the charcoal can stain tile, grout and clothes so use with caution. Avoid petroleum-based activated charcoal.)
- Water works wonders for preventing food stains. Right after eating, simply swish water in your mouth for 30 seconds.
- Make your own mouthwash that whitens and remineralizes teeth, and freshens breath. Ingredients: 2 teaspoons calcium carbonate powder; 1 teaspoon xylitol crystals; 10 drops concentrated trace minerals liquid; 10 drops peppermint essential oil; 5 drops lemon essential oil; 5 drops spearmint essential oil; 2 cups filtered water. Directions: In large mixing cup, stir calcium power and xylitol crystals, then add liquid minerals and essential oils. Add water and stir; pour mixture into glass bottle, close lid and shake ingredients for 30-60 seconds until xylitol dissolves. (Then shake well before using!)
- Choose the right lipstick to give the illusion of whiter teeth. Blue-tinted lipsticks have cool undertones that make teeth look brighter and whiter.
- Opt for a professional whitening treatment, such as KoR Whitening Deep Bleaching System, which is quick and results in little-to-no sensitivity.
Have any other tips that have worked for whitening your chompers? Share with the class below!